By now you’re one week into a long season, and Rachel Jones’ wisdom about Lenten persistence might be your best friend.
If you need encouragement to put one Lenten foot in front of the other, here’s a list of resources and ideas. They are offered in hopes that they will help you live your Lent, all season long.
Don’t try them all! Lent isn’t meant to be a season of overwhelm. Hopefully, just one or two of these will give you inspiration to go the distance.
1) From our Archives: Be intentional about the music you hear in this season.
Meredith Henne Baker writes,
Years ago, when I was really into concert going and new artists, I decided to go on a “fast” from my usual musical diet. That Lent, I resolved to only listen to Christian music (or classical music) during my commute or in my apartment.
Read more here. This post includes a great round-up of musical resources for faith formation.
2) Watch at least one good thing on YouTube.
What were those 40 days like? This speaks to all ages:
I made a Lenten video playlist a while ago for a youth event; you’re welcome to check it out here.
3) If you feel behind on Lent and out of ideas, try out a Lenten Family Practices calendar.
Traci Smith, Presbyterian pastor and author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home (affiliate), has an Etsy store where she sells $2 family calendars for Lent. She describes them this way:
This calendar has a simple faith activity for each day. The activities alternate through Prayer [P], Fasting [F], and Almsgiving/Service [S]. Prayer days have very simple prayers that can be used as conversation starters. Fasting activities are “mini” fast-like things that focus on giving something up. Service days have simple service suggestions for the whole family to participate in together.
Simply purchase, download, and be inspired to act.
4) Maybe a family practices calendar is overwhelming, and you just want to do one thing.
The “one thing per Lent” approach, over the many years you have children at home, builds upon itself. Vibrant Faith at Home suggests that Lent is the perfect time to teach a bedtime prayer to your children, or begin a practice of bedtime prayer with your families.
Here’s their free resource to take you through the process, with suggested prayers. (It doesn’t include the Book of Common Prayer, but you can find those prayers here or, of course, in a prayerbook.)
5) Take seriously the invitation to deepen your spiritual life. Remember, faith is caught more than it is taught. Seeing parents and grandparents take faith seriously is what young ones most need. Forward Movement’s Ashes and the Phoenix provides a path for your Lenten journey.
Threaded throughout with the stunningly visual and visceral poems of Len Freeman and guided by the collects for Lent and Holy Week, Ashes and the Phoenix seeks to lead us through the emotions, symbols, sights, sounds, and scents of Lent. Featuring original woodcuts by artist Jason Sierra, this book is a feast for hungry hearts and weary eyes. If you are seeking a way to answer the Church’s invitation to observe a holy Lent, Ashes and the Phoenix is an excellent companion for your journey to Easter.
Learn more and order here. Or, check out more of their many resources for Lent!
6) If your family enjoys being creative together, consider Illustrated Lent for Families (affiliate). This ecumenical little booklet includes…
- Family Devotions: Seven Weeks of Family Devotions that are simple, but meaningful. The seven devotions are based on Gospel readings from the Revised Common Lectionary for Lent 2017. Each devotion includes discussion questions, an activity and a suggested memory verse for each week.
- Coloring Sheets: There are seven coloring sheets that focus on each of the seven memory verses that go along with the devotions.
- Activity Sheets: Each devotion is also accompanied by an activity sheet that families and children can do together.
Just because you didn’t begin Lent with it doesn’t mean you can’t use it to make Lent more meaningful. Grandparents might like to have it just for the times their grandchildren are over.
For the next week, our readers can use the code GROW15 to get 15% off! Find Illustrated Lent for Families right here. (affiliate)
7) If your family enjoys cooking together, making pretzels is a traditional Lenten activity.
Busted Halo has information about pretzel’s Lenten connection. They write,
Pretzels were developed as an option to satisfy abstinence and fasting laws of the time. Eggs, fat, and milk were forbidden during Lent. So, the remaining ingredients that one could use included water, flour, and salt. A young monk baked the first pretzel — making a Lenten bread of water, flour, and salt, forming the dough into the prayer position of the day, and baking it as soft bread.
Read more (and find a recipe) here.
And a bonus: And just in case six ideas aren’t enough, our cousins in the Roman Catholic tradition have provided a longer list of 40 ideas for a holy Lent. Plenty for everyone!
May your season be observed as a remembrance of God’s grace. May it be, for you, a holy Lent. And remember, the whole point of grace is this: you can begin again.
Does your family have Lenten traditions? What are they?
One good thing to watch on youtube right now is Paul Schaffer and Bill Murray’s video Happy Street.